Hilde Henriksen Waage’s NRK oped: With Israel as the stronger party, no peace in sight

hmmm, not quite the same level as Stanghelle who actually presented a fair and straight forward account seen from a Norwegian perspective. Hilde Henriksen Waage certainly plays her role as the offended host to perfection.

lifted from NRK.no (bad google translate)

20 years since the Oslo Accords and no peace in sight

Oslo accords did little distant Norway visible on the map of major international players. But there is still no peace in the Middle East .

Professor of History at the University and senior researcher at PRIO Hilde Henriksen Waage
20 years ago , 13 September 1993 , the Oslo Accords signed on the lawn in front of the White House in Washington. The whole world could see that Norway had played a major role in the peace process in the Middle East . Oslo Agreement was one of the more serious attempts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians .

But the role played Norway in the Middle East peace process 20 years ago ? And finally , how can the final result – the Oslo Accords – explained?

Asymmetrical power situation

Oslo process reflected the basic asymmetrical power relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. Israel was – and is – the stronger party and was not willing to give up much at all . PLO was – and is – the weaker party and was willing to accept crumbs just to avoid becoming even more marginalized than the PLO everything was in 1993.

What action had Norwegian peace negotiators in such asymmetrical power situation?

The question is asked rarely , and it undermines the prevailing fairy tale of the Norwegian peace role in the Middle East .


Thorvald Stoltenberg tried
After the war , Norway had been one of Israel’s best friends. In 1979 , it was none other than the political fox and leader of the PLO , Yasser Arafat , who pointed out that Norway appropriate conflict resolution in the Middle East . He needed a friend that Israel could use its close ties to Israel to convey a message of peace.

Different Labor governments, with Thorvald Stoltenberg as the main driving force , tried several times , but Israel was not willing to listen to the message of peace that Norway had to bring with them from the PLO . So rant all these peace efforts into the sand. But the seed was added . Norway , which no longer was any avowed friend of Israel , had a strong desire to contribute to peace.

Secret channel
In January 1993, the Norwegians his secret  channel, largely a small, unpretentious and unplanned role. The Norwegians’ goal was to be a facilitator and not mediate or get involved in negotiations. They would only pave the way for informal political contacts to see if anything could be done to remedy the ongoing peace talks in Washington, which was completely stalled . The results that have come out of the program in Norway , should be returned to the US -led negotiations. No one should know about what had taken place . Norway would only be a help and relief for the United States .
But it did not . In Norway , unlike in the U.S., did the Israelis and the Palestinians quickly – to everyone’s surprise – to agree on which way they should go . In Norway , again unlike in Washington, Arafat and the PLO had complete control over the proceedings. Arafat had the required position and ability to make the concessions he found necessary. Arafat was desperate to get back to the center of power . In Norway was therefore the Israelis and the Palestinians shortly after agreeing on a draft joint declaration .

Gradually changed Norway’s role in
The problems for the Norwegian peace brokers arose when Israel upgraded the secret negotiations in Norway for official negotiations . Israel’s goal in negotiations was to retain as much control as possible , give up as little land as possible and protect Israel’s security . On his journey toward a deal to PLO abandon many of their original claim . Israel pulled on his side back many of the concessions that were given at the beginning of the Oslo process . It was this phase of the negotiations that changed the Norwegian role. Gradually the Norwegians into a new role , they were active agents.
It was Israel , the strong party, which from now on specific game rules. If the Norwegian participants wanted to keep bacchanal alive, it had to happen on Israel’s terms. There were no other options. Israel was the party that would provide land and power to the Palestinians . About the Norwegians would be part of the peace process , they had to realize that it could not happen without the cooperation and goodwill of Israel. Why could not the Norwegians risk criticize Israeli positions. Such an attitude would make unacceptable Norway as facilitator and mediator. Norway may not be equally acceptable to both parties . Italic Norway had to be acceptable to the stronger party Israel. Mediator role assumed such loyalty.

Two options
Norway had no major muscles. Norway’s weak position implied that the Norwegians had to be most responsive to Israeli demands. Israel specific rules . Norway could like it or not, but there was nothing Norwegians could do with the asymmetrical power relationship . Norway is neither or the United States .
This was Norway’s action . Either did the Norwegian peace negotiators as best they could , given the circumstances , otherwise they could give up to get to an appointment and go home . These were the choices. Norway chose to stay and make the best out of the situation . It boiled down to persuade the PLO to abandon the position Israel found unacceptable and persuade Palestinians to accept Israeli demands . PLO had also understood that an agreement had to be negotiated on Israel ‘s terms. Otherwise PLO lose its position , and it could continue to sit alone without influence in exile. How Arafat saw it, was the Oslo Accords the best deal under the worst possible circumstances.

Achievements are not large
Middle East diplomacy made ​​famous Norway . Peace Mediation had been one of the best “best exports ,” said then- Undersecretary Jan Egeland , the peace diplomacy’s standard-bearer in front of someone, in March 1995. The commitment made ​​this remote little country visible on the map of major international players.

But the result did not materialize. Quickly it turned out that making peace in the Middle East was not as simple as that Norwegian peace brokers had hoped . The Norwegians could not achieve more than the stronger party Israel at all times was willing to allow . And it turned out not to be large . No peace was secured , and no peace in sight 20 years later .

5 comments for “Hilde Henriksen Waage’s NRK oped: With Israel as the stronger party, no peace in sight

  1. de Bacle
    September 13, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    This phoney professor too, like Stanghelle in his op-ed in Aftenposten, ignore the known historical facts; that it was the suicide bombings that commenced after 93 that killed the Oslo accords.

    The Norwegian “intellectual elite” are making fools of themselves with their consistent one-sided Israel-bashing analysis.

    This Yom Kippur I pray the judgement day will come when the Norwegian media will be exposed on the international scene for what it is – a shallow incompetent indoctrinating propaganda machine.

  2. : )
    September 13, 2013 at 11:18 pm


    I’m impressed how you cary on and do your best to document and twist it so one just have to shake once head of the stupidety.


    Waage needs a new job!

  3. September 14, 2013 at 8:58 am

    “Middle East diplomacy made ​​famous Norway . Peace Mediation had been one of the best “best exports ,” said then- Undersecretary Jan Egeland”

    Not as much fame as Norway got when, in 2009 it awarded the Nobel Peace Price to U.S. President Barack Obama for his “extraordinary efforts” to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples …

    Norway’s aspiration of stripping Israel from its ability to defend itself is disturbing and almost pathological in its barely-concealed desire to see 6 million helpless Jews in a region of 420 million hostile Arabs conditioned to hate Israel and Jews.

    Here is what Claude Lanzman has to say about this type of Norwegian aspirations:

    “In “Tsahal” I also knew exactly what I wanted to tell: the creation an army, the construction of an army, the creation of courage. This army represents a victory of the Jewish people over themselves. There had never been a Jewish army before. My film tells how Jews took their fate into their own hands to avoid ever become victims again. I show how they overcame the victim role and overcame a mental predisposition.

    In the Israeli army life is valued higher than anything else. And yet every soldier in the Tsahal is prepared to give his life. Unlike other armies of the world, the soldiers of the Tsahal do not die for the glory of their fatherland, they die for life alone. You should not forget that the genocide of the Jews in the Second World War was not just a murder of innocents. It was also a genocide of the defenceless. My film describes the path to overcome defencelessness. It describes how the Jewish people empowered themselves with weapons and it describes the psychological metamorphosis that the people had to undergo, in order to build an army like the Tsahal, in order to be able to defend themselves, to be able to kill.

    For decades, young Israelis have been growing up with the insecurity of knowing that no-one can guarantee that “Israel will still exist in 2025”.


  4. September 14, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Well spotted! I too had to scratch my head in disbelief that this obvious betrayal and deviation from the peace agreement the Palestinians signed… Massive falsification of historical facts is one way of describing their outpourings, although Stanghelle at least looks as he tries to get the facts straight. And that in spite of his biased background!

  5. Abe Bird
    September 16, 2013 at 7:53 am

    With Israel as the weaker party, no peace in sight either…. because the barbaric Islamic Arabs were butchering the Jews and push them into the sea. How luck that the Jews are the strongest and most brilliant people, at least in the Middle East !

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